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Snares of the Modern Church – Part VII: Cultural Relevance

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Every Sunday, across the globe, congregations gather in church buildings, expecting not only to hear the Word of God but often to be entertained. We see the theatrical spectacle of contemporary churches engaging in “culturally relevant” productions, sermon series based on popular movies, and over-the-top gimmicks increasingly becoming the norm.

That’s the problem.

We hear about these pastors and production teams, what these artists are doing, how many attendees they’re attracting, and what kind of trendy show they’re putting on this week. But rarely, is the driving force behind these modern church movements the pure, undiluted Word of God. It is a snare to be reckoned with, for sure.

Take a look at the sheer number of churches preaching sermons based on Hollywood blockbusters, for example. What are they doing to draw people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ? Yes, God can work in any way He pleases, but does this mean we should cast aside discernment and invite the stench of modern culture into the sacred assembly?

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Such churches may draw crowds and applause from the world, but at what cost? By mimicking the fleeting fashions of the world, they set themselves up, not God, for a higher honor among the worldly populace, stealing glory from the Creator. They, in fact, make an idol of culture, prioritizing what the world would deem fashionable over the immutable truths of Scripture.

Another troubling manifestation is the gimmick-driven church, often led by pastors more concerned with theatrics than theology. They may start with sound doctrine, but over time, they, too, succumb to the worldly ideology that demands constant novelty and entertainment. They no longer hold the sufficiency of Scripture as the pillar of their ministry—they now cater to worldly tastes and often engage in sinful behavior in doing so.

Why would a church that claims to follow Christ indulge in such worldliness? The Scriptures tell us precisely why. 1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” When churches place their appeal to the world above the preaching of God’s Word, a subtle yet destructive form of idolatry takes root.

This drive for cultural relevance not only enables this idolatry but fosters it to the degree that God’s glory is obscured, even from the very pulpits where His name should be exalted. The majority of these “innovative” churches have compromised on biblical truth to serve their own interests and to conform to the fleeting whims of a secular society.

The world applauds these efforts. The world likes it because it softens the sharp edges of the sword of truths set forth by God in the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ. The doctrines that have sustained the church for centuries—such as the inerrancy of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, and the call to holiness—are downplayed or dismissed with crowd-pleasing gestures and ambiguous language that tarnishes the image of God in His perfect holiness.

Let’s return to the old paths, where the Word of God is preached without compromise or showbiz flair. Let’s remember the words of Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Let’s put the glory back on God, not on the sinking sands of cultural relevance. The church’s aim should always be to please God rather than man, to hold high the unchanging truth rather than chasing the fleeting shadows of worldly acclaim. Let’s be a church that serves and glorifies Christ, not ourselves.

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